Businesses look out for fake money - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Businesses look out for fake money

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Some of the fake bills found in Jefferson County Some of the fake bills found in Jefferson County
The security thread of counterfeit $50 shows it is a modified $5 bill. The security thread of counterfeit $50 shows it is a modified $5 bill.
The security thread of counterfeit $50 shows it is a modified $5 bill. The security thread of counterfeit $50 shows it is a modified $5 bill.

Nederland Police sent a warning out Tuesday. Counterfeit cash is circulating through the city and be on the lookout.

Police say fake $50 and $100 bills have been passed through Mid-County over the past two weeks. Nine of the Ten businesses that have come forward with reports of counterfeit money have been small businesses. 

For over 25 years Jimmy DeMas and his family have been popping hoods and tightening bolts, providing Nederland with complete automotive service. 

"It's just something I'm good at. I was taught by my father. It's been in the family. Its been a good income for our family," DeMas said. 
 The auto technician says the business racks in roughly $500,000 to $700,000 a year and every penny counts. So when he heard about counterfeit money circulating through town DeMas was alarmed. 

"The thing that worries me the most is that I didn't know about it until now," he said. 

DeMas has yet to see the fake money come through his business but Nederland Police say other businesses haven't been so lucky. Ten businesses have reported receiving five dollar bills disguised as $50 and $100. 

" Go into a store and buy something inexpensive and get the change off it. You got a pocket full of money," Detective Corey Mendoza said.  

Mendoza says the person or persons responsible bleach a five dollar bill to remove it's color and then scan or copy the face of a $50 or $100 to the old $5. The detective says the bills will pass the marker test. 

But you can still detect the fake bills by checking the water mark or security thread. Those can't be removed and will match the original bill. 

"If they'd spend this much effort filing applications and getting a real job. They'd probably do good wherever they go," Mendoza said. 

DeMas wants to keep providing care to the customers of Nederland so he will keep his eyes peeled for counterfeit money. 

"Knowing that they're out there. Obviously, we're going to be looking for it," DeMas said.  

Mendoza says anyone who knowingly uses a counterfeit bill faces a charge of forgery by passing, that's a state jail felony.

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  1. How to spot a counterfeit

    The Secret Service offers these tips for spotting counterfeit currency:

    Take a moment to look at the money you receive. Compare a suspect note with a genuine note of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics. Things to look for:

    • Portrait: The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background, which is often too dark or mottled.

    • Federal Reserve and Treasury seals: On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt or broken saw-tooth points.

    • Border: The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On a counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.

    • Serial numbers: Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury seal. On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

    • Paper: Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often, counterfeiters simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper, which is noticeable on close inspection. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of U.S. currency.

    You can find more information at the Secret Service Counterfeit Division Web site.

    Source: U.S. Secret Service